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Bikeway Project Nears Completion

On any given day, crowds of people enjoy the newly completed portions of the Bethpage Bikeway Extension Project. From curious first timers to devoted regulars, the paths are filled with pedestrians, hikers, bikers, in-line skaters, racers and joggers all day long, into the evening.  

Bethpage State Parkway was built in the 1930s to provide access to Bethpage State Park. The adjacent 8-mile bike path was built by New York State in the 1970s in order to connect Massapequa and the Massapequa Preserve, on the southern end of the parkway, to Bethpage State Park, on the northern end.

According to the New York State Department of Transportation, the extension of the Bethpage Parkway Bikeway was initiated to “further provide non-motorized access to recreational and employment facilities along the length of the bikeway and to improve air quality by converting some motorized traffic into non-motorized traffic.”  

The final design of the Bikeway Extension was completed in 2011. There was a bid opening on April 21, 2011 and the contract was awarded on August 5, 2011, with an estimated completion date of July 3, 2012. This completion date was later extended to December 30, 2012 and is currently due to be finished on December 30, 2013. The delays are blamed on traffic signal and roadway crossing redesign.

According to the Department of Transportation, shared use path roadway crossings; including traffic signal work, striping, signs, over curb ramps, kiosks and minor asphalt paving are still to be completed at this time. New pedestrian signals and pushbuttons to existing signals, where the shared use path and bike lanes cross other roads, are also planned. While there will not be any new traffic signals, existing signals will be modified where the path crosses Old Country Road, Washington Avenue and Sunnyside Boulevard. Signal improvements also are being done where bike lanes cross Sunnyside Boulevard at Froelich Farm Boulevard and Woodbury Road.

A Department of Transportation official said safety improvements along local roads are ongoing.

“Haypath Road is a fairly low speed, narrow road with stop signs along it, so the work involves pavement markings and signing to warn motorists of the crossing,” according to the official. “Since Old Bethpage is wider and has higher speeds, flashing beacons are being installed in addition to pavement markings and signing. At Old Country Road, there is an existing signal which is being updated and additional signing and pavement markings will be placed.”

Officials said the project was intended to “extend the multiuse bike path six miles from Bethpage State Park to the Long Island Expressway, and then following the expressway and the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway to the Syosset Rail Road Station -- including pedestrian improvements at street crossings, replanting of eroded areas, parking

and signage.”

The shared use path was extended 5.7 miles and ends at Woodbury Road, just north of the Long Island Expressway. In addition, part of the existing path was rebuilt in Bethpage State Park and a short spur of approximately .3 miles was constructed near Woodbury Road. The on-road bike lanes continue to the intersection of South Woods Road and Woodbury Road. About two miles of bike lanes are being marked on local roads heading from the north end just west of Woodbury Road, up to approximately one mile from the Syosset Rail Road Station.

The current construction contract cost of more than $6 million is being funded by Federal and New York State sources.

The bikeway extension can be accessed at several points along its span. As of now, parking is accessible at a lot at the Bethpage State Park picnic area. The New York State Department of Transportation is constructing three additional parking lots under this project, two are within Trail View State Park: at East Bethpage Road just north of Old Country Road, and Washington Avenue at Executive Drive. The other parking lot will be on Sunnyside Boulevard just north of Fairchild Road off Woodbury Road.

The extension is a shared-use paved path with mile markers placed every 0.1 miles within the Bethpage State Park and the Trail View State Park, between Haypath Road and the Long Island Expressway, as well as adjacent to the Long Island Expressway North Service Road and Sunnyside Blvd. It is an on-road bike route at Froehlich Farm Road, Woodbury Road, Piquets Lane, South Woods Road and Syosset-Woodbury Road.

Trail View State Park is a fairly new state park that was created by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation. It extends from Bethpage State Park north through Old Bethpage, Plainview and Woodbury into Cold Spring Harbor. In addition to creating a shared-use path within the Trail View State Park, this bikeway extension project also created a new alignment for the Greenbelt Trail for hikers.

The Department of Transportation said “the recommended location of the bikeway extension on or adjacent to existing roadways would result in minimal impacts on wildlife habitat, national resources, and open space.” The department added “all construction materials and methods would be sensitive to historic and environmentally sensitive areas.”